KCSD emails, both generated and received are, by law, retained by the District almost indefinitely. These emails may be used as evidence in legal cases involving the District and may be viewed by lawyers and/or judges. These guidelines were developed for school districts and intermediate units. They provide a set of basic expectations designed to avoid potential legal and logistical problems if and when emails are later produced pursuant to records requests via Pennsylvania’s Right To Know and/or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA).
The guidelines should be followed by all staff and administrators to ensure professionalism in the District’s communication.
- Maintain professionalism at all times. Do not write anything in an e-mail that you would not want to have read by a parent, lawyer, or judge.
- A polite and respectful tone is always required, even when writing about contentious issues or situations.
- If an e-mail contains confidential student information, only those individuals with a legitimate educational interest in that information should be included or CC’d on the message.
- Refrain from using personal e-mail accounts or text messages to communicate with parents about school district business. Your school district account or online portals should be used for this purpose.
- Only send confidential student information to non-district personnel if the appropriate legal release has been signed to allow the non-district personnel access to that information.
- Use student names instead of initials in the body of e-mail messages, although initials may be used in the subject lines of e-mail messages.
- Particularly sensitive issues should be addressed to parents and students in person or over the phone, and not through e-mail.
- Do not assume that because an e-mail has been sent to a parent that the e-mail has been read by the parent. Follow up in person or over the phone on important issues to ensure that the parent has received the message.